How do parents help their first graders cope with shock?

How do parents help their first graders cope with shock?

First graders often face some difficulties due to changes in environment and learning methods.

According to teachers and school principals, parents need to spend time accompanying, supporting, and helping their children cope with these “shocks”.

Ms. Dang Nguyet Anh, whose child is currently a first grader at a private school in Cau Giay District (Hanoi), shared that even though it’s only the second week of the new school year, her daughter cries every morning before going to school because she’s afraid of the pressure of learning English and Math.

“Before entering first grade, my child could read fluently but didn’t know how to write. We also took her to visit the school and attend some classes to experiment and develop interest before enrolling,” said Ms. Nguyet Anh.

After discussing with the homeroom teacher, Ms. Anh found out that her child was shy, lacked confidence, and even isolated herself in class without making friends with new classmates. During class, when the teacher called on her to speak up, she would burst into tears and refuse to cooperate. Ms. Nguyet Anh was really confused and didn’t know how to help her child gain confidence and enthusiasm for school.

Another parent whose child attends a primary school in Hoang Mai District also shared that despite having been in school for over three weeks, every morning is a struggle to get her child out of the house. “Even though I encouraged and comforted her a lot the night before, she would cry and make excuses like stomachache or headache to avoid going to school,” this parent said.

In reality, many other parents also shared their worries about losing sleep when their children encounter difficulties in the new grade level, especially when they receive poor grades on the beginning-of-the-year assessments.

According to Ms. Nguyen Thi My Hanh, whose child is a first grader at a private school in Ha Tinh City, even though it’s just the beginning of first grade, teachers assign a lot of homework, putting pressure on students from the start and making them lose interest in going to school. Currently, her child has two sessions at school every day but still has to practice writing two pages every night; record videos of reading Vietnamese lessons; record videos of introducing themselves and their family in English.

“If children haven’t learned English from kindergarten, they won’t be able to do these assignments. One day, my husband had to guide our child for over two hours just to finish homework. In the morning, she can no longer sleep in and has to wake up early for school. Besides studying at school, she also has two extra English classes and life skills classes outside of school so her schedule is packed. Clearly, transitioning from kindergarten where she had plenty of playtime during summer break to first grade is a shock,” said Ms. Hanh.

Not a few students are struggling

Ms. Nguyen Thi Van Anh, a first-grade teacher at a primary school in Cau Giay District, said that even though the school had a few buffer weeks for children to get used to learning activities before the new school year, there are still some students who are struggling. Many students hold their pens incorrectly, sit in the wrong posture, miss their parents, and are not used to the new environment and learning methods.

According to Ms. Van Anh, in primary school, children participate in learning activities in two sessions per day, which is different from kindergarten. The class is crowded, and the teacher cannot closely tutor each student but can only call on a few students to read and write during each lesson to correct mistakes if any.

“Therefore, at home, students need the companionship and support of their parents such as: guiding children on how to write, receiving information from the teacher, preparing books for the next day’s lesson with their children, asking about school stories…. The teacher also has ways to encourage and motivate students such as giving flowers, stars to exchange for gifts at the end of the week,” Ms. Van Anh said.

Mrs. Tran Thi Huong, Principal of Van Bao Primary School in Ha Dong District (Hanoi), said that for first graders throughout the year, the content and knowledge of subjects such as Math and Vietnamese are quite simple. For example, Vietnamese requires reading comprehension, writing practice, listening – writing correctly… The curriculum has a specific duration for teachers to teach and guide students so parents should not let their children study in advance or do math before class as it will make them lose interest in studying. In addition, parents should also accompany and support their children during the initial transition period and should not put pressure on them by sending them to extra classes or early handwriting practice.

“Students always feel awkward when transitioning grades. Parents need to accompany and support their children during this initial period and should not put pressure on them by sending them to extra classes or early handwriting practice,” said Mrs. Tran Thi Huong, Principal of Van Bao Primary School (Hanoi).

To avoid shocking or pressuring children, classes should not organize teaching activities in the first few weeks but let students participate in class collective activities, introduce themselves and their families, draw pictures, sing songs… to fully express their individual talents.

The 2023-2024 school year is the fourth year students study with the new curriculum and textbooks. According to the Ministry of Education and Training, last year (as of May 2023), more than 50,000 first graders were rated “Incomplete” out of 4 rating levels: Excellent, Well Done, Completed and Incomplete. These students had to take remedial classes during summer.

Mr. Tran The Cuong, Director of Hanoi Department of Education and Training also requested schools not to test or survey at the beginning of the year for class division, especially not allowed to organize entrance exams for grade 1. Especially, schools absolutely must not mobilize contributions outside regulations.

Hà Linh

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How do parents help their first graders cope with shock?

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